Medical roundup


  • The Feres Doctrine makes sense as a policy matter (how faithful it is to the law is another question). Military members suing other military members is contrary to good order and discipline. Why not have a strict liability regime for certain complications etc.”

  • The other side of the defensive medicine paper by Frakes and Gruber.

    I passed this on to my brother who spent 22 years as a military doctor. His response:

    The supposition is false in this article. I could only access the abstract. However, in the military, Physicians still can have claims filed against them, which then have their names placed into the National Practitioner Database. Physicians in the military are fully aware of this, and still practice defensive medicine. If a claim is filed against you, you go on the National Practitioner Databank as having been sued.

    So, if they actually found there were Savings in the military setting, that means that there is likely much greater savings that could be found in the civilian sector. A reasonable comparison would be medicine practiced in England in the non NHS Private Practice World versus the US. In England, the rate of lawsuits for medical care is 5% that in the United States. This would be a reasonable estimate as to how much savings could be obtained.

  • “no measurable negative effect on patient outcomes.”
    You’ve got to be kidding. Most military and VA doctors, nurses, and medics are horrible. The combat medics are fantastic at what they do, which is intense first aid. The other enlisted are beyond horrible: one was actively trying to harm me, another was so negligent that I stopped breathing during an extremely routine procedure, a third was so ham-fisted that I know what a 10 on the pain scale is. This opinion is based on my experience and that of scores of my military buddies. I had 3 big reasons for getting out, and medical care was one of them.

    ThomasW, I have never heard about filing a claim against a military doctor. Common knowledge is that there is nothing one can do about military medical errors. It may be technically true what you say – I can neither confirm nor deny – but in practice it does not happen because we are told that it cannot happen.

    In England, it does no good to sue a physician. One of the country’s top physical therapists works nights at a bar to make ends meet, and she lives frugally. I can’t imagine one would have better luck suing the hospital.

    My mother-in-law would disagree about England. Her husband, a GS-14 with extremely high connections received a lot of personal care by the best doctors. Hmm, I wonder how that happened.

    • “most” military doctors are “horrible”–That is a nasty nasty charge. My brother recently retired as a military doc, and his wife was an ex-military doc and is one of the most intelligent people I know. My brother, is an excellent doctor, and he busted his butt to make sure that his patients got the best care.

      I spent some time in the military, both as an enlisted man and a commissioned officer. I have no complaints about the care–although I was young and healthy then,